Both Sides Now: 5 Tips for Donors Big and Small on #GivingTuesday
To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, we’ve looked at giving from both sides now. IREX gives as part of our programming, providing over $11 million dollars in grants this year alone to local institutions around the world and awarding nearly 1,000 fellowships annually to both American and international participants. In addition, each year IREX staff chooses a US-based nonprofit to receive the proceeds from our holiday charity drive, the total amount of which IREX matches.
But IREX is also a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, leveraging a mix of support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies to help over 500,000 people just this past year. As one of the 400 partner organizations, IREX looks forward to participating in the first #GivingTuesday on November 27. From our experiences with both giving and receiving, we share tips for donors big and small:
1. Recognize talent and drive. Need is everywhere while resources are limited. What IREX does as an institution is to recognize the most promising ideas and the accompanying drive and capacity to make those ideas a reality.
2. Streamline giving and reporting. Having applied for numerous competed grants, we’ve experienced our share of onerous applications and burdensome reporting requirements. When we give grants, we try to capture the most essential information, balancing the need for rigorous oversight with pragmatic procedures.
3. Offer a range of options. IREX has given grants as small as a few hundred dollars to just over $1 million. Different grantees have different needs based on their organization's capacity and the nature of the proposed project.
4. Listen and learn. The very nature of giving means that donors hold a lot of power. Being able to really listen to the needs of an organization receiving grants and assistance helps givers make informed decisions about how their contributions are structured both now and in the future.
5. Support the organization and the project. Nonprofits’ programs perform better when they’re supported by healthy financial and administrative systems. Whether it is offering a reasonable level of investment in an organization’s overhead structures or improving their efficiency through direct capacity building, nonprofits’ work can be taken to the next level by supporting them as an institution.
We look forward to a day filled with interesting conversations and actions around giving. Join the conversation at #givingtuesday on Twitter.